“Wicket” Student Newspaper Editor
Additional Activities: Spanish Honor Society Secretary, “Wicket” Student Newspaper News Editor, Kaleidoscope Diversity Club, Admissions Ambassador, JV Field Hockey, Ice Hockey Club
What is your favorite thing about Visi?
My favorite thing about Visi is undoubtedly the tight-knit community. There is definitely a strong bond within each class, and there are so many events like Marshmallow Roast and Sophomore Service Day that help strengthen that bond. In addition, students from across grades form really close friendships through morning carpools and all-school traditions like Gold-White. I don't think any other school provides as many non-academic opportunities to form lasting friendships with your classmates. The warmth and strength of the Visitation community can be felt in places as diverse as community homeroom or after school in the Neale Shoppe.
Why did you choose the school?
I chose Visi because of the incredible opportunities the school offers in terms of academics, friendships, sports, and other extracurricular activities. Being a student here has been such a blessing because I have been able to participate in so much and venture beyond my comfort zone. For example, I played ice hockey last winter, something I definitely would not have tried in middle school! I basically couldn't skate at all at the beginning of the season, and by the end, I could more or less get across the rink. The environment here really fosters an openness to try new things and encourages students to achieve personal growth beyond academics.
Which class has been your favorite so far?
I've had so many great classes and teachers, but Honors European History with Mrs. Croston has been one of my absolute favorites. The course used a college-level textbook, and while the class was challenging, it was so rewarding and changed the way I view the world and interpret current events! I questioned a lot of traditional assumptions I had previously made about history, and I started to appreciate how history is always relevant to our understanding of the world today. Our end-of-year project, where we studied the refugee crisis in modern Europe, was eye-opening. I was able to go to the Italian Embassy, and other classmates were able to speak to people from Doctors Without Borders, Georgetown University, charitable organizations, the World Bank, and actual refugees to gain a fuller understanding of the many ramifications of the crisis. It was an amazing capstone to a thought-provoking year.
How do Visitation’s teachers make learning exciting?
Visi teachers really care about their students and always go the extra mile to not only ensure everyone understands, but also to share their passion for what they teach. All my teachers engage in their subjects outside of the classroom in some way or another: Sra. Joria moderates the Spanish Honor Society, Mr. Haralson moderates the Science Fair Club, and countless others find ways to share their love of their discipline outside of the classroom.
I love how Salesian Spirituality inspires perspective and a sense of belonging to something greater than yourself. It's easy to feel caught up in getting good grades or the stress of everyday life, but Salesian Spirituality helps ground me and offers much-needed insight. While the spirit of Visitation is very gentle, it also challenges students to strive to live their faith more completely. Salesian Spirituality is present in everyday encounters, but is also felt in more tangible ways, like with Salesian Reflection emails and Founders’ Day.
What have you taken from your time on the student newspaper?
I'm an editor on the “Wicket,” and I've learned so much about writing, current events, and working with a team to accomplish something! I’ve also learned to appreciate the process of crafting and honing your work. Instead of spitting out an article, we often have thought-provoking discussions about the issue, we complete thorough research, we write a first draft, then we make edits. Our work has a physical reward, the printed paper, but it's also really satisfying to immerse yourself in the topic you're writing about. My work has helped me learn so much not only about the school, but how much each person enriches the community. It seems the unofficial motto of "Wicket" is that our stories are worth telling and our perspectives matter, and we have been taught to reflect that in our writing as Visi's "paper of record."
Why attracted you to Kaleidoscope?
I joined the club because I was inspired by Diversity Day my freshman year, which featured incredible speakers and really thought-provoking discussions. The first half of the year, Kaleidoscope hosts discussions at lunch about a wide range of issues. This past year especially, a lot of students got a much-needed opportunity to share their perspectives in an open, respectful setting (very much unlike the wider national discourse!). The second part of the year we plan Diversity Day, which was a lot of work but so worth it!! My group did a presentation on the refugee crisis, and I learned so much about organization, leadership, and public speaking from the experience (and the refugee crisis as well).
What activities do you do outside of school?
I am a Sunday School teacher at Holy Trinity Parish, and I work as a lifeguard during the summer.
Emily answered these questions after her sophomore year.